Tuesday, February 26, 2013

DIVIDE: Query/blurb critique, anyone?

Hey guys! 


Since I know as well as anyone that a query may eventually become a book blurb (I learned this the hard way with EVER), I really want to get DIVIDE's query to a place where I can be proud of it. 



And if you know me, you know this is a near-impossible task--I despise queries. 


So, check it out, and if you have any critique, please share!! 

Thanks! 


Holland Briggs had everything a seventeen-year-old girl could want—beauty, popularity and more friends than any one girl could need—until her ex-boyfriend’s house was burned down, and all fingers pointed to Holland. When suspicion struck, Holland went from adored Prom Queen to untouchable outcast. Even the social lepers wouldn't be seen with the school’s pyromaniac freak.

Mick Stevenson has been put on this earth for one purpose and one purpose only: to end the curse that has plagued the Briggs family for centuries. To do so, he must fall in love with Holland Briggs—the most recent descendant of The Beast most people have only heard about in fairy tales—break the spell that plagues her, and protect Holland from herself.

Easy.

But when the change in Holland begins way before schedule, Mick is forced to hide Holland in a cabin in the woods, while trying to find a way to beat the curse and save their future generations from facing the same fate. But when love finds them, and the curse remains unbroken, a handsome stranger may be the key to unlocking the truth. Unfortunately, it may be too little too late, and Holland Briggs may become lost to the beast inside her forever.

Sitting at roughly 59,000 words, DIVIDE is a standalone, upper young adult romantic fantasy, told in dual POV, and loosely based on Beauty and the Beast—with a minor Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde twist. 

13 comments:

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    1. Thank you! Hopefully you'll get to some day! :-)

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  2. Love it! I totally want to read it :) I think you covered all the major points and it is enticing enough that I'd ask for a sample...for what it's worth.

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    1. Thank you, Christie! Now go become an agent so I can submit to you! lol ;-)

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  3. I love critiquing queries, I'm weird, I know. so here goes:
    "her ex-boyfriend’s house was burned down, and all fingers pointed to Holland"
    try instead - her ex-boyfriend's house burns down and all fingers point at Holland.
    "When suspicion struck, Holland went..."
    try - When suspicion strikes, Holland goes...
    "Even the social lepers wouldn't..."
    try - Even the social lepers refuse....
    I think you get the idea. I'm just switching words to make it more active. It's pretty solid though, and I really like the concept ;-)

    I LOVE the cabin in the woods, how fantastically romantic!

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    1. I agree with Katie.

      Also, in your 2nd to last paragraph you have two sentences back-to-back that begin with "But." I might get rid of the second one completely. So your sentence would read: "When love finds them, and the curse remains unbroken, a handsome stranger may be the key to unlocking the truth."

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  4. This sounds really interesting! I copied and pasted the query with comments here:

    Holland Briggs had everything a seventeen-year-old girl could want—beauty, popularity and more friends than any one girl could need—until her ex-boyfriend’s house was burned down, and all fingers pointed to Holland.

    [I suggest sticking with the present tense. The switch from past to present once you start talking about Mick is a little jarring. Also, while this isn't bad, I think you could write a better opening line: "Holland Briggs had everything a seventeen-year-old girl could want--" could be the start of any Contemporary YA. Get straight to her being a pyromaniac. Much more unique, and more more of a hook.]


    When suspicion struck, Holland went from adored Prom Queen to untouchable outcast. Even the social lepers wouldn't be seen with the school’s pyromaniac freak.

    [I really like that last sentence! Just stick to the present tense!]

    Mick Stevenson has been put on this earth for one purpose and one purpose only: to end the curse that has plagued the Briggs family for centuries.

    [The jump to Mick is a little jarring. A smooth transition from the last paragraph would be helpful]

    To do so, he must fall in love with Holland Briggs—the most recent descendant of The Beast most people have only heard about in fairy tales—break the spell that plagues her, and protect Holland from herself.

    [I think you could cut words here. "To do so, he must fall in love with Holland Briggs--the most recent descendent of The Beast--break the spell that plagues her, and protect Holland from herself." With "The Beast" and the context, I think the reader will pick up on the Beauty and the Beast vibe, and since you mention it later, there's no need to talk about the fairytale now.]

    Easy.

    But when the change in Holland begins way before schedule, Mick is forced to hide Holland in a cabin in the woods, while trying to find a way to beat the curse and save their future generations from facing the same fate. But when love finds them, and the curse remains unbroken, a handsome stranger may be the key to unlocking the truth. Unfortunately, it may be too little too late, and Holland Briggs may become lost to the beast inside her forever.

    Sitting at roughly 59,000 words, DIVIDE is a standalone, upper young adult romantic fantasy, told in dual POV, and loosely based on Beauty and the Beast—with a minor Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde twist.

    [Ok, so I think there's a disconnect between your first paragraph and the rest of the query. The connection between the burning house and the cabin in the woods isn't clear to me. I think part of the trouble comes from having both PoV characters act as the PoV of the query: first Holland, then Mick. I think it might flow better, and the transitions would be easier to follow, if you choose only one.]

    Hope that's helpful! This sounds really interesting! Love the premise. I'm looking forward to reading it :)

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    1. Thank you for such a thorough critique, Sam!! I really appreciate your notes.

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  5. Hi, Jessa! (waves)

    First of all, your site is *gorgeous.* (As is 'Ever's' book cover.) Just had to get that out there.

    I saw your note on Facebook and hopped over to see if I could help. Here goes.

    Holland Briggs had everything a seventeen-year-old girl could want—beauty, popularity and more friends than any one girl could need—until her ex-boyfriend’s house was burned down, and all fingers pointed to Holland. When suspicion struck, Holland went from adored Prom Queen to untouchable outcast. Even the social lepers wouldn't be seen with the school’s pyromaniac freak.

    Mick Stevenson has been put on this earth for one purpose and one purpose only: to end the curse that has plagued the Briggs family for centuries. To do so, he must fall in love with Holland Briggs—the most recent descendant of The Beast most people have only heard about in fairy tales—break the spell that plagues her, and protect Holland from herself. (This paragraph feels a bit out of place, or like it comes in all of a sudden. If you could find a way to lead into this one, I think it would be smoother. Also, I suggest bringing the fairy tale element into the first paragraph. Otherwise, it comes off a bit random, IMO. Perhaps mention Holland's beast curse in the opening so we know it's a fairy tale twist?)

    Easy. (I suggest cutting this. IMO, it doesn't serve much purpose. We can already tell things are going to be difficult for these two, so the added sass is not needed.)

    But when the change in Holland begins way before schedule, Mick is forced to hide Holland (I would cut 'Holland' and just say 'her', since you just mentioned her name earlier in the sentence.) in a cabin in the woods, while trying to find a way to beat the curse and save their future generations from facing the same fate. But when love finds them, and the curse remains unbroken, a handsome stranger may be the key to unlocking the truth. Unfortunately, it may be too little too late, and Holland Briggs may become lost to the beast inside her forever. (I love your last line. It definitely leaves a sense of desperation. The part about the handsome stranger confused me. I'm guessing this person is her 'beauty'? The reason it confused me is because I thought Mick was her LI. I suggest clarifying that aspect. Otherwise, I thought all major conflicts were highlighted nicely.)

    Sitting at roughly 59,000 words, DIVIDE is a standalone, upper young adult romantic fantasy, told in dual POV, and loosely based on Beauty and the Beast—with a minor Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde twist. (Personally, I'm not picking up on the Dr. Jekyll vibe. Also, when I think of B&tB, I think of romance. I don't with DJ&MH. I suggest cutting the last part and sticking with the B&tB twist if you're aiming for romance. I think it will keep the expectations clearer for potential readers and help attract the right audience.)

    I'm a sucker for retold fairy tales and urban fantasy, so I can't wait to read this. Good luck!

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    1. I love all of your notes, Krystle! Thank you so much!!

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